Aggressive expansion

Published 8:44 pm Wednesday, March 3, 2010

By now, the reports of the NCAA considering an expansion of the NCAA basketball tournament to 96 teams should be fairly old news to most sports fans.

I have to say that I am overwhelmingly in favor of this move.

Let’s take a look at this thing. Right now, there are 347 Division I basketball teams, 65 of which make the NCAA tournament.

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For you non-math majors out there, that’s a percentage of a little under 19 percent.

To compare, there are 34 bowl games in college football, meaning 68 out of 120 FBS teams get a chance for postseason play, nearly 57 percent.

Now, there are additional tournaments such as the 32-team NIT or 16-team CBI, as well as the 16-team Postseason Tournament.

Still, that brings the total number of teams participating in the postseason to 129, a percentage of 37 percent.

If having too many teams playing postseason basketball is your problem, then I have a solution for that.

The NCAA now runs the NIT tournament, so why not simply do away with the NIT and instead add its 32 teams to the NCAA field?

Adding another weekend would give us more upsets, more great games and more drama. The added spots in the tournament would also give the NCAA the opportunity to extend automatic bids to both regular season and conference tournament champions.

If that were to happen, smaller conferences, such as, oh I don’t know, the Sun Belt could get two teams in every year no matter what.

College football is often criticized for not giving the smaller schools a chance. College basketball doesn’t need to make that same mistake.